State leaders mourn loss of reporter Mark Binker

Posted May 2
Updated May 3

— On both sides of the aisle and in two branches of government, state leaders paused Tuesday to reflect on the unexpected death of former WRAL News reporter Mark Binker.

At the Council of State meeting Tuesday morning, Gov. Roy Cooper commented on the shock of Binker's sudden passing early Saturday morning.

"Mark Binker was a reporter's reporter. He was always digging for the facts, was never afraid of the tough questions, played it straight down the middle, according to most everybody who's been involved in this, and that's a hard thing to do," Cooper said. "We all extend our deep sense of loss and our deep condolences to Mark Binker's family, to everybody who knew him. He will be sorely missed."

State Treasurer Dale Folwell talked about his years working with Binker, saying he was always prepared for interviews.

"When a person passes, they die twice," Folwell said. "The first time [is] when their soul leaves heavenly earth, and the second time is when the last living person on earth remembers who they were, and it’s going to be decades and decades and decades before people ever forget who Mark Binker was."

In the state Senate Tuesday afternoon, where session was adjourned in Binker's memory, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger took a rare moment of personal privilege from the dais to reflect on the loss.

Berger said he had been on the road to an event Saturday when he got a call with the news. Pausing for a moment, he described his shock.

"To be honest, I don't think I still fully comprehend what has transpired. I know that, for his wife and his two children, it's going to be a most difficult time," he said.

Describing Binker as "quick-witted and fair," Berger ended, "He will be missed. He is missed already."

House and Senate leaders plan to honor Binker formally with a resolution in the coming weeks.

A public memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. May 12 at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh.


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